“I wish to immensely thank Forbes [Africa] for this huge honour of being selected as Africa’s person of the year for 2013. I’m honoured to be here on a global stage where the world is celebrating Africa’s agriculture,” Adesina said.
The minister’s remarkable reforms in the agricultural sector in Nigeria empowered six million farmers across the country to embrace modern day agriculture.
He beat four other top finalists at the Villa Rosa Kempinski Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya, last night.
The finalists included Aliko Dangote of Dangote Group, Jim Ovia the chairman of Zenith Bank, Strive Masiyiwa the founder of global telecoms group Econet in Zimbabwe and Patrice Motsepe, South African Mining magnate.
“Today is not about me, it’s about what I stand and work tirelessly for, the new future for Africa. One where the continent is able to feed itself, to unlock the continent’s potential and to use agriculture as a new driver of growth and prosperity,” he added.
Adesina’s impact on the agricultural sector turned agriculture into a business activity generating wealth for millions of farmers and not just a devolvement program.
The minister also initiated the Growth Enhancement Support Scheme (GES) that ended four decades of corruption in the fertilizer sector and scaled up food production by nine million metric tonnes in the first year- almost half of the 2015 production target.
“Ours is a beautiful continent, blessed by God with rich and abundant land with rainfall and cheap labour to be able to feed ourselves and the rest of the world but potential is not enough. Nobody eats potential, we must unlock this potential,” he explained.
According to Chris Bishop, Forbes Africa’s managing editor, Adesina was considered a worthy winner by the judges, as he is a man on a mission to help Africa feed itself.
“We hope it will encourage the rest of the continent to grow more of its own food. Also, last year, we presented a Kenyan with the award in Nigeria – this year it was the other way round, which shows that Forbes Africa is truly pan African,” Bishop added.